“Petros Chrisostomou photographs small-scale, ordinary, ephemeral objects in architectural models that he constructs himself, and then dramatically arranges, often employing lighting and staging conventions of the theatre. With the alteration of scale and reversal of the relation between object and environment, between imaginary and real space, his photographs challenge the viewer’s visual certainties. The illusionary effect he achieves highlights the artist’s playful approach, which uctuates between mimicry of the real world and construction of a surreallistic reality.”
Curator, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens Extract from In Present Tense - Young Greek Artists
Petros Chrisostomou constructs hybrid spaces, combining the concerns of artist, sculptor and curator. His work, as much sculptural as photographic, draws inspiration from concepts of hyperreality. These works not only revel in signs and symbols – the simulacra of contemporary life, they transcend that postmodernist trope of the simulacrum, offering distinct traces of the skewed realities of the Dadaists or fantasies of the Surrealists. These qualities are underpinned and stabilised by the architectural accuracy of his miniature interiors, which draw from broad influences, from classical Palladian or a White Cube gallery space, to the contemporary commercial kitsch of fast-food joints, or even a depiction of his childhood home as in the 18 Fortis Green series. The self-constructed model interiors contain life-size objects and within this context, the objects are transformed into oversized sculptures, surreal representations of themselves.
Chrisostomou’s work questions how we interpret them using a range of incongruous visual clues, obscure constellations of objects and spaces, with symbolically rich contexts. Most recently this work is made with materials collected from stores located in Brooklyn, Afro American hair extensions, grooming products, and Dollar store items, that in turn are socially connected to the communities they reflect.
Similarly the environments chosen to present these objects tell a story –through a lucid observation of Brooklyn’s subcultures- and link a thread throughout the geographical and social connotations of these works. As a product of Globalization, born in London to Cypriot parents, and now living in New York, Petros Chrisostomou explores the idea of the indigenous habitat, by creating these boxes from which to work in, and juxtaposing these items to form connections and disconnections. They become symbolic metaphors for a decentralized notion of where we find ourselves culturally grounded, and the spaces that we relate to as home.
Petros Chrisostomou was born in London, 1981. He lives and works in New York. He was a resident on the International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York, as well as the winner of The Red Mansion Art Prize, where he worked for a concentrated period of time in Beijing, China. His work has been included in public and private collections worldwide.
Recent exhibitions include ‘Miscellaneous and Blended- Art from NYC’ Museo De Arte De Sinaloa (2014) ‘Nirvana- Strange Forms of Pleasure’ MUDAC, Musee de design et d’art appliques Lausanne (2014) Vertigo, Xippas Gallery, Geneva (2013) "Photographs" at Fuchs Projects gallery (2013) ‘Ficciones, International Biennial of Photography, Punta Del Este, Uruguay (2011) Plastic Lemons, Spring Projects, London (2011) Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed, The Photographers Gallery, London (2009) In Present Tense-Young Greek Artists, EMST National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (2008) 3rd Beijing International Art Biennial, British Pavilion, Beijing (2008).
Editor’s note: Extract from a text by Roy Exley